Sartorially Self-Inclined: Clothes that wear you

For my Halloween magic show I was a "a fraid" knot

For my Halloween magic show I was a “a fraid” knot

With fall officially thrust upon Colorado, it is exciting for myself and my ladyfriend because we get to pull out all of our sweaters, her tights, and all the other impeccably fashionable fall cold weather gear. We love fall because it is the one season where we get to really express ourselves and have just enough layers to do it. But just like any other season, it is important to recognize and remember important clothing rules. Actually only one rule, wear your clothes, don’t let your clothes wear you!.

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Sartorially Self-Inclined: The Commute

Man I love Mr. Porter. Talk about a modern and chic clothing website. I absolutely love all of their articles and style/fashion pieces. I think a lot of the problem with men’s fashion is that the fashion is presented in the same vein as woman fashion. It is all about the style and clothes. But for men, we require something a little more substantial. Men’s fashion should be part of the whole experience. Clothes should be used to highlight or create a layer to our lives. When I look at men’s fashion i like to look at it in context of the setting and situation. I think it is cool to look at an amazingly cut piece from opening ceremony but it won’t really get me to buy the outfit. I mean maybe it is because men don’t have the wherewithal or the creativity to be able to know where you should wear that outfit, but I think that men need context. We need the why we should wear something. Why should i be wearing a suit? Why should I be wearing a flannel and buy an axe from Best Made?

It is just a well groomed website. Much like how a man should carry himself.

It’s all about context and seeing how your clothes fit in the real world. How the man is perceived in the clothes. I think that when men start to make the transition into a more bespoke and tailored fashion sense, they start to become more aware of their presence in the world and how they want to be seen. I mean take for instance shows like Suits, White Collar, and the Mentalists. These men are all very well dressed and demand a certain respect in and out of the office. Not only that, they carry themselves with this absolute classy and casual debonair. They exude control of their situation around them.

When you place the clothes into perspective, I think that it helps men realize and understand the importance of how you present yourself to the world. How you can use clothes as a tool and an asset. Think of them as a way to present your personality, your confidence, but also your ability to just be a man. A Steve McQueen, a Russel Crowe, a Most interesting man in the world!

Men’s style, especially American men style is very much buried in years of tradition and romanticized tendencies. When I start to really focus on how I look I feel in this weird way that I am connecting with a tradition of strong willed, good looking, well respected lineages of men that have come before me.

 

I bring all of this up because Mr. Porter is a website that is constantly providing that context for clothing. Instead of just giving you the clothes at fashion shows or just releases by the companies, they actually place the clothes in real world settings and show you how to wear the clothes and in what context they work. I love suits, I really do. But i recognize that they are not for every setting, but what can I substitute to still maintain that classic American man feel. One of my favorite parts of the website is their video series. They have numerous ones but their most recent release, #thecommute really shows you how dressing well doesn’t inhibit a man’s ability to be an individual but just makes it that much cooler.

You’ll see what I mean.

 

Sartorially Self Inclined: Colorado Spring

This is pretty normal, one day green, the next a blizzard like right now!

Colorado is one of the most “interesting” states when it comes to weather. We have an old saying that we like to say here, “If you don’t like the weather wait 15 minutes.”

Colorado weather is extremely predictable in that the weather will be completely unpredictable during certain times of the year. During October there will be a FREAK snowstorm on Halloween following a week of  70 degree weather. Or there will be sunshine and green lawns at Christmas. Colorado Weather being the way it is we natives have become use to waking up wearing t-shirts and sandals and ending the day in wool sweaters and boots. Especially the last few weeks Colorado has seen this insane weather flux. It has been unscrupulous amounts of snow. More than we actually got in the winter. On the one hand it is a good thing because as another Colorado saying says “we need the moisture” but at the same time it sucks because I cannot ride my bicycle to work and I cannot enjoy my Chacos. Chacos, for you non-natives are a Colorado year round staple and the best sandal in the world. Well, except for my Kinos. They are stand alone.  Continue reading

Sartorially Self Inclined: Just Need a pair of Brown Shoes

As my time at the coffee shop comes to a close and I start to get ready for the “real” world I believe it is time for me to finally say farewell to my behind the bar shoes and hello to some dress shoes. For any of you that work in the service industry, other than hipsters, have at least once in their life had or entertained the idea of owning a pair of dankso shoes. They are the primo slip on for the restaurant type and just so ideal for any type of kitchen like work. They are durable, comfortable, can take a beating and not make your feet smell like poop! They are great. But the only problem that I have with them is that they look clunky and awkward. Not the most handsome of shoe nor the trimmest. They are round and weird. Much like many people who work in the kitchens. Joke, really, you are all beautiful people.

These are industry standards. Ironic hipsters would wear dress shoes to work in a cafe. But I ain’t staining my nice shoes with milk and bleach.

Being a mens sartorial addict I fawn over really nice shoes. I mean like drool, sometimes even worse than my ladyfriend. A nice pair of brogues, a good monkstrap, or suede desert boot make me go “ooh, this is what the feet of a modern day renaissance man deserves.” Shoes to me are the most important part of an outfit that you can and should spend money on. I remember talking to the Head Roaster of Novo coffee, Erich Rosenberg, and he said that you can judge a man and his coffee tastes just by looking at his shoes. I have heard variations on this comment from multiple blogs and posts that I read around the internet and always thought it was important but was blown away when I realized that Erich was right. And not just right on coffee, but right on the importance in the shoe for interactions between people. Continue reading

Sartorially Self Inclined: My Maroon Pants

I have been looking at my closet recently and have noticed something that almost brought me to tears. Looking into my wardrobe of style, the pieces of fashion that help me mark my identity I saw that I lost something. I am missing a part of me.

Levi 508 Regular. My favorite wardrobe staple

A little philosophical and heady yes, but when you sit around all day without a job or purpose you really hold onto anything that can define who you are.  For me, that of course is my maroon pants. Pantalones Marron. My maroon pants whilst at the Little Bird Bakeshop and over the last year had become a James fashion staple. They were the creme de la creme of what I really liked about clothing. Not only did they fit very well, but they were very fashion forward for a town like Fort Collins. Remember, Fort Collins is the Chaco, Patagonia, Puff vest capitol of the nation so anything that steps outside of the green, brown, khaki, and black hues is a huge step forward. Anyways, I really fell in love with them and when I wore them with a dress shirt, suspenders, or even a flannel and boots on the weekend I felt like a man and loved them.

I think that my fascination with maroon colored pants stems from my early ages and romanticism of punk rock and hard core bikers. You know, the guys who didn’t give a shit and partied all night, fought all day, and played hard. I always imagined people like Iggy Pop and the Stooges or the guys from Easy Rider wearing maroon colored pants. The color unlike a bright silk pink or purple really pushed that line of androgyny without ever really stepping over it. It showed that men are willing to touch a little more femininity by playing with color but still kept a very masculine darker tone. It was like saying “come fuck with me, I dare you, because if you think I am a pansy I will cut you!”

It feels less like a style statement and more like blind following of fashion trends.

I really see maroon as color that men own. When men wear bright pink, especially bright pink ties with their suits it doesn’t seem quite right. It feels like its a color that their girlfriend picked out for them because they liked it. (Or to show other women that she OWNS HIM!) Bright colors like that almost feel like you are striving for fashion and to be stylish but misunderstanding that fashion is wearing the clothes that fit you not wearing what is “cool.” Many times walking around a college campus and going by the school of business you always see these gentlemen in suits with pink ties or wearing bright colored polos and shorts. Now I know that I can’t bash other peoples aesthetic and the men who genuinely wear those clothes because they fit their personality, but I was raised with the “real man” aesthetic. The type of man who cuts down trees and rides a motorcycle, who is tough and has a chip on their shoulder doing man things but when they clean up and wear a tweed jacket or suit, you respect that man and dare not to question his authority on anything. The type of colors I always associated with that have been black, grey, brown, green, khaki, and maroon. For some reason, maroon is just enough edge but still maintains that strong alpha male aesthetic.

For me to not be wearing my maroon pants has been a sign that over this last two months of unemployment I think I have lost a part of myself. That part of my identity that identifies me as a true man. Being without a job, more importantly money, has really thrown me for a loop and instead of really trying to identify who I am as a person I have become overwhelmed in what I am not and in doing so, have not worn my maroon pants and have not accepted that part of me. That real man aesthetic. I hope by realizing this I will be able to tear my maroon pants down and own that confidence of those pants again because they are a part of me and my personal style. No, more than that, my personal aesthetic and if I am not confident in those, than how I can be confident in me?

Here is a video that kind of describes the aesthetic I associate with maroon pants

Sartorially Self-Inclined: Professionalism Through Hair

It's so long!

It’s so long!

So, when I “graduated” a second time from CSU a year ago I told myself that I wouldn’t cut my hair until I got a professional job. It was me, my and my hippie look against the world. I had always wanted to grow my hair out and see what it would look like. I usually kept  a short look, but had always been prone to like the longer hair aesthetic. My ladyfriend and I both agreed on longer hair for me because of a few reasons.

  • The Italians, Spanish, and other European men have a slightly longer look which itself makes me look more foreign 
  • Having longer, well groomed hair gives you an air of confidence and defiance to the traditional professional world
  • Curly hair when slightly longer really helps to accentuate my jawline and makes me feel like I am a little bit older
  • My ladyfriend is totally into it Continue reading

The Art of Shaving (Or my lack of understanding about razors and my face)

“I will not rush that which affects my visual appeal” -The Brotherhood of Shaving

Over the Holiday break my ladyfriend and I decided to meet up with her sister in Denver and head to Park Meadows mall. I am not gonna lie to you. Being overly sartorially eccentric I love going to the mall. I am a fan of looking at clothes and finding what perks my personal interest. I also love going to look at the stores layouts. For some reason when I enter a store like Apothecary I just imagine what my rustic life would look like. All the tweeds and flannels and man made wooden and metal interior designs. So much fun.

But on this trip there was one shop that just made my day. I mean it’s been three days since we were there and I am still ranting and raving about it. The shop is called The Art of Shaving. Imagine for a second that you, a very well dressed man, realize that even though you have a fantastic outfit you have a scraggly pre-pubescent beard and look like you haven’t showered in weeks. When you finally realize that personal grooming is just as important if not more important than your wardrobe you need to find a place that will help lead you into the clean shaven future.

The Art of Shaving storefront. Very Dapper

The Art of Shaving is just that place. An American based high end specialty shaving store started in New York is extremely impressive. With it’s classic 1920’s minimalist style the shop specializes and focuses on improving men’s grooming habits but at the same time celebrating the tradition of shaving. Walking inside the first thing that I noticed was the beautiful layout of razors, badger brushes, and straight edge razors. Not only that, they have a huge line up of shaving soaps, foams, and essential oils to keep your face clean and smelling good. All of it is laid out in the open and even spaced so you are not extremely overwhelmed by a billion different options. But the creme de la creme of the shop is that in the back there is a bona fide Barber Spa. What is that? I don’t know but all I know is is that I wanted to have a shave in there. And feel like a dapper gentleman.

I think what really impressed me about the shop is that it understands the need of a man versus a woman when shopping. The space is small and intimate and very quiet. The music was a background accompnament to the knowledgeable and friendly employees. The selection they have is very small, there are only five different aromatics in the shaving liquids (Lavender, sandalwood, lemon, lavender  and unscented). The shop has a very limited amount of products but all are of high quality. For me I like going into a shop that I can really look at a few pieces laid out rather than having to push through racks and racks of crap for that one diamond in the ruff. I also want to know that everything from the low end to the high end of equipment will still have a decent quality to it that won’t feel like a cheap purchase. I like my stuff to be good and long lasting. Not only that, the staff is ready to offer you demonstrations, advice, and really cater your purchase to your personal shaving needs and preferences.

I really like this type of shopping atmosphere. Instead of feeling like you are going in blindly, the staff is passionate about their products and want to give you a breakdown and understanding of what each service is. They are building passion through education and knowledge. I was recently reading an article about well dressed men and that to learn about being well dressed you should go into a gentlemen fashion store or tailor and be upfront about wanting to learn and not purchase. If they are willing to cooperate and teach you, than you should spend your money there because they treat you like a person who wants to share their appreciation of a craft. When I went into The Art of Shaving this teenage was being treated like he was royalty and the employee was taking great care about teaching him all the tricks and tools of shaving and not feeling like it was a waste of her time. To put that much sincere attention into a teenager who really doesn’t even know what shaving is shows me the respect that they give to their craft. A great store to check out if it is in your area.

Look how classy their line of stuff is!

*My personal favorite is the unscented line because it smells most like man. Nice deep earthy wood notes with a very simple floral finish.